Easier access for importers

FORT ERIE, Ont. – The federal government is making it easier for importers to bring goods into Canada.

The already existing Trusted Trader platform is being extended with a new program: Customs Self Assessment—Platinum (CSA-Platinum). Under the new rules, existing CSA importers who “voluntarily demonstrate that their business systems, internal controls and self-testing processes are effective and reliable at ensuring trade compliance” are eligible for the new status.

As well, non-resident importers based in the US will also be permitted to apply to the CSA importer program. Previously the program was restricted to importers residing in Canada or international companies with Canadian branches.

According to the government, the goal of CSA-Platinum is to “assist CSA importers attain the highest rate of compliance with the CBSA’s trade programs since importers will be directly responsible for verification and testing of their trade program compliance. By doing so, Platinum members are subject to reduced trade compliance verifications by the CBSA, allowing the agency to invest resources in areas of higher or unknown risk.”

Currently, there are 95 members enrolled in the CSA importer program who conduct $89.3 billion in annual trade.

In conjunction with the CSA announcement, the government also reminded businesses of a recently launched website. The Trusted Trader Portal, which went live June 15, 2014, was created to allow companies to apply for and manage their Partners in Protection (PIP) memberships. In the future, the website will also serve as the foundation for future phases of Trusted Trader enhancements, including the streamlined exchange of program information between the Trusted Trader and the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) portals.

Also tied in with the commercial announcements was word that an eGate project has been created at the Peace Bridge entry in Fort Erie, Ont. This will allow NEXUS card holders expedited passage across the border. All of today’s announcements were promoted under the banner of the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

In a statement the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) offered its support of all of the initiatives, but singled out lifting the non-resident restriction in particular.

“While not aimed specifically at the highway carrier program, increased participation from shippers means more qualifying shipments for the FAST lane—a huge benefit for highway carriers hauling those goods,” it said in a statement.

“CTA welcomes the most recent announcements and encourages both Canada and the US to continue working towards further implementation of projects and initiatives pledged under the Border Action Plan, which would improve cross-border transport by helping carriers realize the full benefits of their cross-border investments while boosting trade between the two nations.”

John Manley, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives also praised today’s announcements.

“From the beginning, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has strongly supported the Beyond the Border initiative because of its potential to streamline cross-border commerce and improve Canadian and U.S. competitiveness. The innovative, practical measures announced today will make a tangible difference to workers and companies on both sides of the border. The eGate pilot project at the Peace Bridge offers an excellent example of the ways in which technology can make border crossings faster and easier while enhancing security. Meanwhile, improvements to the Customs Self-Assessment program will enable more Canadian firms to take advantage of the opportunities presented by global supply chains.”

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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